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Innovation for the base of the pyramid: Critical perspectives from development studies on heterogeneity and participation

Author

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  • Arora, Saurabh

    () (School of Innovation Sciences, Eindhoven University of Technology)

  • Romijn, Henny

    () (School of Innovation Sciences, Eindhoven University of Technology)

Abstract

This article criticises current BoP approaches for under-appreciating two issues that play vital roles in projects targeting the poor at the BoP: heterogeneity among the poor, and the intricacies of participatory partnerships between TNCs, the non-profit sector (NGOs) and local poor communities in the global south. Our main contention is that the extant BoP literature has a naive view of what working with the poor really involves, which grossly underestimates adverse power relationships and disregards the hierarchies between the poor and outsiders who administer development interventions. To unpack the hidden complexities associated with heterogeneity and partnership dynamics, we draw on extensive knowledge from the field of development studies, which has accumulated key insights about working in and with poorer communities over several decades.

Suggested Citation

  • Arora, Saurabh & Romijn, Henny, 2009. "Innovation for the base of the pyramid: Critical perspectives from development studies on heterogeneity and participation," MERIT Working Papers 036, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2009036
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    File URL: https://www.merit.unu.edu/publications/wppdf/2009/wp2009-036.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Hall, Andy & Clark, Norman & Frost, Andy, 2010. "Bottom-up, Bottom-line: Development-Relevant Enterprises in East Africa and their Significance for Agricultural Innovation," MERIT Working Papers 042, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    2. Vamsidhar Reddy, T.S. & Hall, Andy & Sulaiman V., Rasheed, 2010. "New Organisational and Institutional Vehicles for Managing Innovation in South Asia: Opportunities for Using Research for Technical Change and Social Gain," MERIT Working Papers 054, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    3. Goel, Veena, 2011. "Trade induced growth impacts of corporate entry in the food sector: A case study of fruits and vegetables sub sector in the Punjab State of India," IAMO Forum 2011: Will the "BRICs Decade" Continue? – Prospects for Trade and Growth 24, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe (IAMO).
    4. repec:eee:tefoso:v:131:y:2018:i:c:p:227-239 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Van den waeyenberg, Sofie & Hens, Luc, 2012. "Overcoming institutional distance: Expansion to base-of-the-pyramid markets," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 65(12), pages 1692-1699.
    6. Gulrajani, Nilima, 2013. "The Challenge Fund Aid Modality: Assessing the Potential for Tackling Gender Challenges in Development," WIDER Working Paper Series 043, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    7. Stoian, Dietmar & Donovan, Jason & Fisk, John & Muldoon, Michelle F., 2016. "Value-chain development for rural poverty reduction: A reality check and a warning," IFPRI book chapters,in: Innovation for inclusive value-chain development: Successes and challenges, chapter 2, pages 75-92 International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    innovation and development; participation; poverty alleviation; TNCs;

    JEL classification:

    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General
    • M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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